(Photo by Chris Pobst, Staff)
SIKESTON -- Auxiliary Unit 114 just had one of those nights where things didn't go their way.
Sikeston's Junior Legion squad fell 6-1 to visiting Paducah Post 31 on Wednesday at VFW Memorial Stadium in Sikeston during the first game of their doubleheader.
"We hurt ourselves at times," Auxiliary Unit 114 head coach Mark Jackson said. "We also just had some bad luck. It just seemed like their hits fell through and ours didn't. They probably played a little better than us, too."
The first indication of things turning sour for Sikeston came when their starter, Gavin O'Brien, was just one out away from a perfect opening frame.
O'Brien struck out Paducah's first two batter's while showing signs of a executing a quick inning.
But Post 31's Jeremiah White coaxed a walk in a full count and Luke Meredith singled him in during the next at-bat for Paducah's first run.
"The first guy scores after a walk while Gavin's pitching well," Jackson said. "That's just the kind of game we had."
O'Brien struck out seven in four innings but threw a lot of pitches to get them. It was a trend that eventually ended the pitcher's outing after the fourth inning having thrown 78 pitches.
"He ran his pitch count up," Jackson said about O'Brien. "I would have liked to have kept him in there longer and get another inning out of him, but I'm not going to stretch a kid like that in the summer.
"I thought he kept the ball down and had good movement," Jackson added about O'Brien. "The problem was he didn't get ahead enough. Therefore, he threw too many pitches."
Sikeston's John Foster took the hill in the fifth and fell on some hard luck of his own. On three hits and one walk, Foster surrendered three runs. Paducah's John Darnell highlighted Post 31's fifth frame with a two-run single that scored Logan Cook and Jaybo Sandler.
"We pitched too deep into counts," said Jackson. "We need to try to get ahead. But, overall, I thought our pitchers were okay."
Paducah scored one more in the sixth on two Sikeston errors. Caleb McCord pitched the final inning unscathed.
"I think we've got some guys that are pressing," Jackson said. "We know we're better than what we're playing and they're probably pressing a little bit."
Unit 114 scored their lone run in the second inning.
Clay Driskill led off the inning with a single and was followed by a walk and a hit from Jayshawn McDaniels and Colton Black, respectively.
Although Driskill was thrown out at the plate during a force out, a bases loaded walk to Dylan Mason scored McDaniels to tie the game 1-1.
That was the only smear on Paducah starter Hunter Reeves' stat line. Reeves threw five innings and allowed four scattered hits while striking out five.
Post 31's John Higgins threw the final two innings and gave up two hits while striking out three.
"They threw strikes and changed speeds," Jackson said about Paducah's hurlers. "For the most part, that's what kept us off balance."
Sandlin led Sikeston with two of their six team hits. McCord smacked a double in the seventh inning for Unit 114's only extra base hit.
For Paducah, Darnell led Post 31's efforts at the plate with three hits including a double. Meredith added a triple and a single.
Paducah 101 031 0 -- 6
Sikeston 010 000 0 -- 1
WP -- Hunter Reeves. LP -- Gavin O'Brien. 2B -- (P) John Darnell; (S) Caleb McCord. 3B -- (P) Luke Meredith.